A Certificate of Compliance is the local agencies’ certification that a parcel was legally created in conformance with the Subdivision Map Act and local ordinances at the time of the creation. The applications vary per agency, but generally, a title company and a licensed land surveyor can furnish all required documents and complete the necessary research. In some cases, a land use attorney assists with this process as well.

Certificates of Compliance are generally necessary for:

  • The Local Agency to acknowledge a parcel as being legally created.
  • Allowing development to occur on a parcel where the Local Agency is unsure of the legal status.
  • To buy or sell a parcel where the legal status is in question.

Certificates of Compliance fall into two categories:

  1. The parcel was created by a Record Map or Subdivision Map. The Certificate of Compliance process for this type of conveyance is far quicker and easier to process with local agencies.
  1. The parcel was created by sequential conveyances (deeded away). The Certificate of Compliance process for this type requires more in-depth title research, often requiring the land Surveyor and title company to follow the history of the parcel back to the original government patents (mid to late 1800s) or even prior to the Spanish land grants (early 1800’s). Thus, this results in more time to complete and is usually longer for the local agency to approve.